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Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Education savings accounts (ESAs) allow parents to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple, uses. Those funds—often distributed to families via debit card—can cover private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials. Some ESAs, but not all, even allow students to use their funds to pay for a combination of public school courses and private services.

Watch the short video below to see how ESAs work for families.

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Seven States with ESAs

Check out the list below for quick links to those program details, which include approved expense types, family eligibility tests, participation numbers, funding amounts and more.

Fast Facts

Do you know which was America’s first ESA program? Which is the biggest? For more little-known truths about America’s education savings account programs, visit our ESA fast facts.

What types of services are parents purchasing with their children’s ESAs?

Though many ESA families use their funds to pay for private school tuition, 28 percent spend the money on multiple learning services. Collectively, families even saved 31 percent of total ESA funds and accumulated more than $67,000 in college savings plans in 2016. Our Ed Debit Card study examines parent spending data from the nation’s first and oldest ESA program. Check out our study for more details.

Are parents satisfied with ESAs?

Researchers have surveyed parents who use the longest-running ESA program in the nation: the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program. The majority of ESA parents in Arizona are satisfied with their children’s schools, but there is room for states to further improve how these programs work for families. Read more of from this report below.